Kia and Hyundai will pay out millions to people who had their cars stolen in Tik-Tok inspired 'Kia Boys' thefts
Kia and Hyundai will pay millions to people who had their cars stolen in a Tik-Tok inspired trend.
The "Kia Boys" trend involved using a common USB charging cord or metal object to start the car.
The settlement is valued at more than $200 million.
Kia and Hyundai will pay millions of dollars to people who had their car stolen thanks to a missing antitheft device and a TikTok-inspired trend.
The proposed settlement is valued at more than $200 million, the law firm Hagens Berman, which represented car owners in the lawsuit, announced Thursday.
It affects owners of certain 2016 to 2021 Hyundai models and certain Kia models made between 2011 and 2021. These models were built without an immobilizer — a common antitheft device that prevents cars from being started without the code from the vehicle's individual smart key.
"The owners of these cars have experienced enough upset, and we worked to achieve a settlement that covers many types of losses — from those who were lucky enough to have never had their theft-prone car stolen, to those whose stolen cars were totaled completely due to Hyundai and Kia's negligence," Steve Berman, managing partner at Hagens Berman, said in a statement.
Thieves targeted these cars because they were easy to steal using a common USB charging cord or a similar metal object to start the engine. Last year, Cook County Sheriff's Office warned people about the rise in thefts, reporting they'd seen 642 reports of Kia and Hyundai thefts in the area in just a few months compared with 74 reports all of 2021, Insider previously reported.
The spike in theft of the models is partially thanks to a TikTok trend from the "Kia Boyz," which followed people breaking into Kia and Hyundai models only using a screwdriver and a USB cord.
"The increases are believed to be connected to the sharing of videos on social media that demonstrate how to start these vehicles without a key," Cook County's Sheriff Office said in a press release. "Thieves appear to be targeting unoccupied vehicles that require a physical key, not a starter button."
At the time, spokespeople for Hyundai and Kia said they were concerned about the the auto thefts and the social media trends targeting the vehicles but assured their cars met or exceeded Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
The suit alleged that the lack of an immobilizer and other flaws allowed thieves to steal these cars in less than 90 seconds.
On Thursday, Ash Klann, a spokesperson for Hagens Berman, told Insider that car insurers who already paid out to drivers whose thefts were covered will have their own claims against Kia and Hyundai.
"Those claims are separate from this," Klann said. "Today's proposed settlement doesn't at all affect insurers' claims."
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